Division Dialogue

Division Dialogue

Spring 2012

Message from Vice President Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.

As Spring arrives and we anticipate the excitement of graduation ceremonies and the celebration of the accomplishments of our students, it is timely to also consider the impact that the teaching, research and clinical practice in the Division of Health Sciences has on the economic health and development of Nevada. Governor Sandoval's economic development plan for Nevada identifies heath care as one of seven industries that are critical to the state's development. It is one to which higher education can make particular contributions through the Division.

The health care sector has been one of the few bright spots in the Nevada's economy the past few years. From 2007 to 2010, Nevada employers shed nearly 176,000 jobs, including thousands in construction, lodging and food services, and manufacturing. During the same period, Nevada's health-services sector added more than 6,000 jobs. Nearly 90,000 Nevadans (7.8 percent of the state's workforce) are employed in health services.

The contributions to the economic health of Nevada by the University of Nevada School of Medicine and the University of Nevada, Reno Division of Health Sciences are demonstrated in four specific roles:

  • As an employer;
  • As an innovator through research and development that attracts investment;
  • As the source of the majority of new health care professionals in Nevada;
  • And as the source of new approaches to quality medical care that attracts new businesses to the state.

Contributions as an employer

In fiscal year 2010, the School of Medicine employed 1,398 staff and faculty members, with total salaries and benefits of $105.7 million. An additional $55.2 million was spent on goods and services from other Nevada businesses. School of Medicine employees generated $285.3 million in economic activity in Nevada, including taxes that support a wide range of services. For every dollar spent by the school in 2010, another 81 cents in economic activity was generated in Nevada. This impact is leveraged by an additional 136 faculty and staff members employed throughout the rest of the Division.

Contributions as an innovator

National data show a return of $2.60 for every dollar invested in research at medical schools, teaching hospitals and health professions schools. The School of Medicine today has nearly $50 million in multiyear, federally-sponsored grants for biomedical investigation into the causes and treatments for HIV, muscular dystrophy, preterm birth, breast cancer, intestinal disorders, infectious diseases, male infertility and battlefield injuries. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the impact of National Institutes of Health-sponsored funding in Nevada is:

  • Direct economic impact: $18,652,598
  • Indirect economic impact: $29,844,156
  • Total employment impact: 323 jobs

These projects not only significantly contribute to the state's economy, but also hold the potential to benefit the health of Nevadans and people across the globe.

Contributions as source of medical and health care professionals

The School of Medicine graduates 62 medical students and puts 80 new residency and fellowship graduates into the workforce annually. It will increase its class size to 100 students per year over the next several years. It is working to expand the number and breadth of residency and fellowship training programs in the state; of those who graduate from the school and pursue residency training here, 80 percent remain in state. Additional health care education, research and services provided by the University's Division of Health Sciences that make our state a more attractive place to work and live include:

  • The Orvis School of Nursing graduates 96 nurses a year.
  • The School of Community Health Science trains its graduates to improve public health and eliminate health disparities in Nevada.
  • The School of Social Work's graduates work to eliminate poverty, oppression and injustice in Nevada.
  • The Center for Application of Substance Abuse Technologies provides training, technical assistance, evaluation and research to support the care of those suffering from substance abuse
  • The Sanford Center for Aging improves the quality of life for Nevada's older adults through education, research and community outreach.

Contributions as a direct provider

Quality medical care is one of the two most important factors considered by businesses

seeking to grow or relocate in Nevada (the other is workforce education level). The School of Medicine provided direct care for 408,000 annual patient visits last year, with clinical offices in Reno and Las Vegas, and hospital staffing at University Medical Center and the Veteran's Affairs Hospital in Las Vegas, and at Renown, Saint Mary's and the VA in Reno. It provides outreach to rural communities through telemedicine, consultant services and training, including the planned development of a training program for family physicians in Winnemucca.

This is just a small sample of the many ways that the Division of Health Sciences contributes to the health, both economic

and clinical, of the State of Nevada and its residents. I thank you for the important work that you do as we celebrate the achievements of our students who will be joining this critical sector of the State's economy following graduation.


News from Division of Health Sciences Units

School of Medicine receives $3 million gift from Satre Family

Phil and Jennifer Satre of Reno announced a $5 million gift to the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation from the Satre Family Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. The gift will benefit the University of Nevada School of Medicine, the University of Nevada, Reno College of Education and Wolf Pack Athletics. The medical school will receive $3 million, the College of Education will get $1.6 million and the university's athletics program will receive $400,000.

"By focusing their philanthropy on these critical, quality-of-life issues that affect everyone statewide, the Satres are helping the University to be a powerful agent of change for Nevada's most urgent matters," said University President Marc Johnson in a prepared statement. He said the $3 million for the medical school is earmarked for "translational research efforts," which allow physicians to more quickly bring research from the laboratory to the bedside.

"We have an opportunity to develop a clinical research enterprise that responds to Nevada's health care needs, and this support helps fill the gap," said Thomas Schwenk, dean of the School of Medicine. "I am deeply appreciative of the confidence Phil and Jennifer have shown in the School of Medicine with their support."

CASAT opens recovery and prevention center

The Center for Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT) recently opened a new drop-in center on the University of Nevada, Reno campus in the William Raggio Building, Room 1001. N-RAP (Nevada's Recovery and Prevention Community) is designed to provide an environment of nurturing support and peer connections for students recovering from addiction and students choosing a substance-free lifestyle. With the goal of promoting students' personal, academic, and professional goals, N-RAP provides a place to "hang out," daily recovery meetings, peer-to-peer support, substance-free extra-curricular activities, academic support, and service learning opportunities.

CASAT is excited to be on the cutting-edge of this national movement. Using elements from the three primary collegiate recovery models, N-RAP combines existing resources on the UNR campus with focused attention on providing the broad-based support beneficial to recovering students and their substance-free peers. This project is funded by the Stacie Mathewson Foundation and augments other efforts by CASAT to educate students, enhance the workforce, and decrease stigma about addiction and its impact on the individual, their family and friends, and the community. For more information, contact Daniel Fred, Project Coordinator at 682-744 or Meri Shadley, Project Director at (775) 682-8557.

Redfield Foundation gives $1.6 million to School of Medicine

The Nell J. Redfield Foundation promised $1.6 million to the University of Nevada School of Medicine. $1.5 million will fund research at the School of Medicine and $100,000 will be directed to the Student Outreach Clinic and the Sports Medicine Fellowship.

The Redfield foundation has pledged more than $35 million to UNR over the past 30 years. A $9.2 million donation in 2005 paid for the creation of the Redfield campus in Reno, which houses UNR and Truckee Meadows Community College programs.

Nursing Poster Event

Orvis School of Nursing students participate in research poster session

The Level II students in the Orvis School of Nursing undergraduate nursing program held an evidence-based poster presentation competition on April 16. Thomas Schwenk, dean of the School of Medicine, Nancy Moody, director, Office of Human Research Protection and representatives from Renown Regional Medical Center attended to assist with judging and provided support for the undergraduate research efforts. The students appreciated the feedback and enthusiasm that others demonstrated toward their scholarly activities.

Mohave Partners with Clark County to monitor psychotropic medication use

Mojave Adult, Child, and Family Services is partnering with Clark County Department of Family Services (DFS) to implement the monitoring of psychotropic medication use in DFS custody. The program, mandated by AB364,screens children and youth in public custody for high risk prescribing practices, including polypharmacy, off-label prescribing of psychotropic medications, and prescriptions to children under the age of 6 years. The project seeks to identify youth whose treatment plans can be improved using a tiered system of review that includes record review, case review by UNSOM child psychiatrists and a child clinical team review to identify treatment alternatives that may reduce the needs for psychotropic medications. The first annual summary of findings will be released July 1, 2012 and will include data concerning demographics, diagnoses, and prescribing patterns in this population.

Ervin selected as F. Donald Tibbitts Teaching Award winner and Division of Health Sciences Teaching Award

Susan Ervin, M.S., R.N., CNE, assistant professor, Orvis School of Nursing, was selected as the winner of the university-wide F. Donald Tibitts Distinguished Teacher Award. She will be recognized at the Honor the Best Ceremony on May 13 at 3 pm in the JCSU Ballroom. In addition, she was selected as the 2011 Division of Health Sciences Teaching Award winner. With that honor, she was put forth as the nominee from the division to compete for Tibbitts award. The selection committee noted that she was "impressive in the classroom and used of a variety of teaching methodologies" and that it was clear that her students were completely engaged. Her teaching portfolio reflected her dedication to teaching and provided evidence of strong evaluations and support from her students. She was voted "Most Inspirational Faculty" by the nursing students.

2012 ACP Nevada Chapter Scientific Meeting

The School of Medicine partnered with the Nevada Chapter of the American College of Physicians for the annual 2012 ACP Nevada Chapter Scientific Meeting. The program was chaired by Sandhya Wahi-Gururaj, M.D., MPH, and faculty on the planning committee were Miriam Bar-on, M.D., Aditi Singh, M.D., and Kartika Shetty, M.D. Several faculty presented at the meeting including Dean Thomas Schwenk, Tarek Ammar, M.D., Jennifer Baynosa, M.D., and Aditi Singh, M.D..

First place winners for the associates' abstract competition were:

  • Associate Research: Ramesh Keerthi Gadam, M.D. (IM Las Vegas): "Do Blood Culture Gran Stein Reports Provided after Hours have Clinical Utility?" Dr. Gadam's abstract also placed among the top 10 abstracts for the national ACP competition and was invited for a podium presentation.
  • Associate Clinical Vignette: Dinadelle B. Viola, M.D. (IM Reno): "AIDS patient with secondary neurosyphilis presenting with nonreactive FTA-ABS: A Case Study"
  • The winning medical student was Milad Motarjemi, MSIII for his poster: "Testing the predictions of a simplified model of thin filament regulation: Activating motility through kinetic inhibition"
  • First place winners of the Doctor's Dilemma competition were Sudheer Polisetty, M.D., Jitendra Adepu, M.D., and Ranjit Makar, M.D., from the department of internal medicine in Las Vegas. These residents and the winners of the state competition will be competing in the national competition

Upcoming Events

Honors, Convocation and Hooding Ceremonies

  • Orvis School of Nursing Hooding and Pinning Convocation
    May 17, 12 Noon
    Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom
  • CASAT: Advanced Certificates, Master's Specializations, Minors
    May 17, 3 p.m.
    Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre
  • School of Social Work: Hooding and Pinning Ceremony
    May 18, 10 a.m.
    Nightingale Hall, Church Fine Arts
  • School of Medicine: Hooding Ceremony
    May 18, 1 p.m.
    Lawlor Event Center – Upper Level Concourse
  • School of Community Health Sciences: Hooding Ceremony
    May 18 2:30 p.m.
    CMM Foyer
  • Commencement: The University Quadrangle
    Master's and Doctoral Degrees
    May 18, 5:00 p.m.

Undergraduate Degrees

May 19, 8:00 a.m.

The Division of Health Sciences will be graduating 210 students with the following undergraduate degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Community Health Sciences (Health Ecology): 65
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 49
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 16
  • Bachelor of Social Work: 51
  • Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology: 29

"Dementia: the Musical" to be presented May 15

In celebration of the City of Reno Older Americans Month, Senior Outreach Services (SOS), Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) and UNR Extended Studies, are presenting "Dementia: The Musical" by Steven Rubin M.D. and Kenn Pettiford on May 15, 10 am Laxalt Auditorium, Nelson Building 401 W. 2nd Street. Call Sina Ward (775) 784-7506 for information.

Medical Education Town Hall meetings May 1

Learn more about our new Year 1 and Year 2 curricula and meet the faculty leaders who have worked on creating our new UME program that is being implemented. New teaching methodologies will be also be presented. The meetings will be held on Tuesday, May 1 from 5:30 p, to 6:30 pm in Reno, Pennington Health Sciences, Room 102 and in Las Vegas at the Clinical Simulation Center, 1001 Shadow Lane, Room 121.Kindly RSVP by Tuesday, April 2. Please direct your questions to Gwen Shonkwiler.

Las Vegas Department of Internal Medicine to host CME program on May 5

The Department of Internal Medicine in Las Vegas will be hosting its 2nd annual CME program on Saturday, May 5th, 2012: "New Therapeutics and Technology: Hope or Hype?"

Our People

  • Wei Yan, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Physiology & Cell Biology, School of Medicine, has been selected as this year's recipient of the American Society of Andrology Young Andrologist Award. The Young Andrologist Award recognizes the contributions to the field of Andrology by an active member of the American Society of Andrology who is less than 45 years old at the time of the award. The award ceremony will be held during the ASA annual meeting on April 22, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to this honor, Yan was the recipient of the NSHE "Rising Researcher" Award in 2009 and "2009 Young Scientist Award" of the Society for the Study of Reproduction
  • Elissa J Palmer, M.D., FAAFP, professor & chair, director reproductive services/director rural track residency, Department of Family and Community Medicine-Las Vegas ,clinical professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Nevada School of Medicine received the Family(Medicine) Physician of the Year 2011 by the American Academy of Family Physicians Nevada Chapter.
  • JD McCourt, M.D., associate professor, Emergency Medicine, UNSOM, was a guest columnist for Las Vegas Health Magazine in the March 2012 issue regarding the Benefits of Exercise
  • Michael Epter, DO, FAAEM, emergency medicine residency director was selected as Program Director of The Year by the American Academy or Emergency Medicine (AAEM).
  • Dave Slattery, M.D., served as Program Director for the annual meeting of the Western Meeting of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM), and hosted by UNSOM Department of Emergency Medicine. Dale Carrison, DO, chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, opened the conference and was a judge for the Abstracts competition. Christian Young, M.D., simulation director, Emergency Medicine Residency, coordinated the simulation activities for students attending the Western SAEM assisted by Emergency Medicine faculty and residents.
  • Meri Shadley, Ph.D., associate professor, CASAT, presented at the International Family Therapy Conference in British Columbia and will be presenting "Addictive Women & Domestic Violence" at the California Association for Alcohol Drug Educators conference.
  • Joseph Hume, Ph.D., is stepping down after 11 years of outstanding service as chair of the Department of Pharmacology and 25 years of service to the School of Medicine as a faculty member. Dr. Hume will become a Professor Emeritus on July 1. Iain Buxton, D. Pharm will serve as chair for the Department of Pharmacology for a three-year term through June 2015.
  • David Gremse, M.D., chair of the Department of Pediatrics in Las Vegas, is returning to his roots and family support to serve as chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of South Alabama. An announcement will be made soon regarding interim leadership as well as the membership of the search committee that will be charged with identifying a new leader for this critical department.
  • Evan Klass, M.D., interim chair of the Department of Internal Medicine has been named the director of Project ECHO, the new rural telemedicine outreach program which has tremendous potential to serve rural Nevada..
  • Sandhya Wahi-Gururaj,M.D. ,MPH, residency program director, and Aditi Singh, M.D. associate program director, Department of Internal Medicine- Las Vegas, will be presenting two workshops at the 2012 Association of Program Directors of Internal Medicine Chief Residents meeting.
  • Ewa Olech, M.D., has joined the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Las Vegas as associate professor of internal medicine and chief of rheumatology. Olech has extensive experience in rheumatology and is primarily interested in rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that affects one percent of the population and usually leads to long-term disability. She will be starting a large rheumatoid arthritis clinical trial program, where patients will have an opportunity to try new therapies earlier while they are still in studies
  • Wendy Nelson has been named the new Director of Development for the Las Vegas campus of the University of Nevada School of Medicine. She will also have responsibility for development in Las Vegas for the Division of Health Sciences and will work closely with school leaders, department chairs and faculty members in the health sciences as we develop the Las Vegas campus to its full potential as a clinical, teaching and research campus. She recently served as Development Director for the College of Fine and Performing Arts and UNLV

Grants, Publications and Research Activities

  • John Varras, M.D., chair, Department of Internal Medicine - Las Vegas, had the following publication: Chronic Stable Angina, Internal Medicine Essentials for Clerkship Students 3, RR Donnelley.
  • Cynthia Herrick, M.D., associate program director, Department of Internal Medicine- Las Vegas (Las Vegas IM) is the principal investigator for a collaborative study, "The impact of interdisciplinary code simulation on perceptions of collaboration and team performance among internal medicine residents and nursing students" The abstract was accepted for poster presentation to the National Society of General Internal Medicine Conference. This is a collaborative study with the UNLV School of Nursing and is funded by the Nevada INBRE. Her co-authors include Carolyn Sue Witt, Ph.D., RN (co-PI), Jessica Doolen, MSN, RN, Michael Nasiak, MD, Kevin Gulliver, RN, Aditi Singh, MD and Sandhya Wahi, MD, MPH.
  • The National American College of Physicians has accepted the following posters for presentation at their upcoming meeting:
    • Jason Suszko, PGY-1: "Ascites in Pregnancy: from Erythema Nodosum to Peritoneal Coccidioidomycosis"
    • Reza Vaghefi-Hosseini, PGY-3: "A Case of Proliferative Glomerulonephritis with Monoclonal IgG Deposits"
    • Mahendran Jayaraj, PGY-3: "Seasonal and geographic variation in hospitalization rates for ischemic colitis" accepted to Digestive Disease Week. Dr. Christian Stone, division chief of gastroenterology, is the senior author on this study.
    • Ranjit Makar, PGY-3: "Inhibition of cortical response to non-painful somatic stimulus with simultaneous application of noxious visceral stimulus: an fMRI study in rats" accepted to Digestive Disease Week in San Diego.
  • The following abstracts have been accepted for poster presentation to the 2012 AAMC Western Regional WGEA/WGSA/WOSR Conference:
    • Aditi Singh M.D., Cynthia Herrick M.D., Sandhya Wahi-Gururaj,M.D.,
    • Miriam Bar-on, M.D. "Milestone Based Evaluation" and "Documentation Bootcamp"
    • Aditi Singh, M.D., Sandhya Wahi-Gururaj, M.D., Miriam Bar-on, M.D., "A New Ambulatory Curriculum to Meet Educational Needs"
    • Miriam Bar-on. M.D., Jennifer Hagen, M.D., Aditi Singh, M.D., Sandhya Wahi-Gururaj. M.D., "Leading with a Carrot: A RATs Certification Program to Improve Residents' Teaching Skills"

Student News

Kolonic wins inaugural Goodman Award

Kathryn Kolonic, M.D., a family medicine resident based in Las Vegas, won the inaugural Philip H. Goodman Award for Resident Excellence in Critical Appraisal, for her presentation entitled "Vitamin D treatment for the prevent of falls in older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis." For her efforts, she will receive support to attend the national medical conference of her choice.

Social Work students hold fundraiser for Restart

Social work students from the Phi Alpha Honor Society in the School of Social Work at the University of Nevada, Reno held a fundraiser for local non-profit agency Restart. Restart is dedicated to preventing homelessness and providing professional mental health services to assist families and individuals to become self-sufficient. The event, Restoring HOPE for Restart, was a wine, tea, art and music fundraiser. Students hosted the event at Se7en Tea House and included appetizers from Niko's Greek Kitchen and a musical performance by The Giuliani Acoustic Duo. Local artists donated pieces of their work to be raffled off and numerous local business donated items for a silent auction. Proceeds for this event were in excess of $2,400 and were donated to Restart's mental health services, which will stay right here in our community.

Copyright © 2012 Health Sciences.